| DistroWatch Weekly
|DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 468, 6 August 2012
Welcome to this year's 32nd issue of DistroWatch Weekly! CentOS is a community project that not only rebuilds Red Hat's commercial Linux distribution and releases it as a free download, it also offers timely security updates and long-term security support. As such, its distribution has been growing in popularity in recent years as many users find it a perfect match for (not only) their servers. In this week's feature story Jesse Smith takes a look at the project's latest release, version 6.3. In the news section, Debian announces the availability of the first beta build of the system installer for its upcoming stable release and Fedora surprises many users by adding MATE, a GNOME 2 fork, to its development repository. Also in this week's issue - a not-to-be-missed article on Libtrash and its spectacular ability to recover files deleted by slippery fingers or other accidents. Finally, we are pleased to announce that the recipient of the DistroWatch.com July 2012 donation is BleachBit, a program which can be configured to remove a large chunk of unneeded and unnecessary data, such as browser caches and temporary files, that accumulate on one's hard disk over time. Happy reading!
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|Feature Story (by Jesse Smith)
First look at CentOS 6.3
About a month ago the CentOS team released version 6.3 of its enterprise-focused project. This release, which follows fairly closely after the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3, carries a fairly conservative collection of new features. Two of the features which stand out in the release notes are:
The latest release of CentOS is available in a number of different formats. Live discs in DVD and CD sizes are available as are plain installation DVDs and a net-install CD image. The various ISO images are available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds. I opted to download the 32-bit live DVD which is approximately 1.6GB in size. Booting from this disc lets us verify the media's integrity, boot into a graphical environment, boot into a text console or launch the installer in either graphical or text mode. Should we choose to boot into the live graphical mode we are brought to a GNOME 2 desktop. The background is a deep blue and a menu bar sits at the top of the screen. Down at the bottom of the display we find the task switcher and, on the desktop, there are icons for launching the installer and browsing the file system. There are two additional icons which will launch utilities for adjusting our display settings and configuring the keyboard.
- A move from offering OpenOffice.org to using LibreOffice both in the repositories and installation media.
- The addition of a utility which will migrate virtual machines and bare metal installs to a KVM virtual machine. This will help system administrators move their existing installs to a modern virtual environment.
CentOS 6.3 - getting started with the live DVD
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The CentOS distribution uses the Anaconda system installer, a tool which will probably be familiar to anyone who has installed Fedora or Sabayon. Anaconda is powerful and capable and, though it might not be much to look at, it does provide both graphical and text interfaces. We are walked through selecting our keyboard layout, setting our computer's hostname and confirming our time zone. From there we set a password for the root account and then we move on to partitioning. CentOS supports a wide range of options, including LVM, RAID and encryption. We have the option of setting up partitions manually or getting assistance in dividing the disk for CentOS. Some guided partitioning options include replacing an existing Linux installation, using any available free space on the drive or resizing an existing partition and using the resulting free space. This version of Anaconda has limited file system support, letting us choose between formatting partitions with ext2, ext3 or ext4. Once partitioning is complete we're asked to configure the boot loader and then reboot the machine.
The first time we boot our locally installed copy of CentOS a series of dialogs appear to assist us in configuring the system. We're shown a license agreement and then asked to create a regular user account. We then have the option of setting our machine's clock or making use of network time synchronization. The last screen gives us the option of enabling kdump, a utility which captures data in the event of a kernel crash. The idea behind kdump is that if something goes terribly wrong the data from kdump will help us trouble-shoot the problem. With these steps completed we're turned over to a graphical login screen where we can login to either the KDE or GNOME desktops.
Logging into either of the graphical environments gives us a fairly empty classic desktop interface. The background is a pleasant blue and there are icons on the desktop for navigation. No welcome pop-up or tutorial appears. After a while an icon appears in the system tray letting us know security updates are available, but otherwise the interface appears designed to stay out of the way. Visual effects and gimmicks are not in evidence.
CentOS 6.3 - exploring the distribution
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When a notice appeared informing me that updates were available I brought up the distribution's update manager. This application shows us the names of any available updates along with a brief description of each package. We can check or uncheck each item. When I opted to download all available updates I was prompted for my password a couple of extra times, once to confirm the validity of a new signing key and once more to confirm I wanted to install the downloaded items. After that future updates went smoothly without interaction on my part.
Package management on CentOS is handled by a program labeled Add/Remove Software, though it may be better known as the GTK+ front-end to PackageKit. By any name, the package manager provides us with a fairly simple interface. Categories of software are displayed down the left side of the window and package names, each with a brief description, are shown on the right. I found the package manager to be quite slow and limited in what it would do. For simple add/remove actions it works, but the front-end is sluggish and it refused to process complex batch jobs. I found I preferred managing software using the system's command line manager, YUM.
CentOS 6.3 - managing software packages
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As the CentOS DVD comes with both GNOME and KDE the application menu contains an interesting mix of software and quite a bit of functionality is duplicated. Looking through the menu we find Firefox 10, which is an Extended Support Release, the Evolution e-mail client, the Thunderbird e-mail client, the KMail e-mail client, the Konqueror web browser, the Kopete instant messenger and the Pidgin messenger client. XChat is included for communicating on IRC. LibreOffice is available as are the GNU Image Manipulation Program, Inkscape and the Okular document viewer. The menu contains a program for ripping audio tracks from CDs, two disc burners, the Cheese webcam tool, two video players and the Rhythmbox audio player. Despite these multimedia apps the distribution does not include popular media codecs or Flash. (More on adding those in a moment.)
The application menu includes the KGpg privacy tool, a pair of archive managers, a pair of text editors, a utility for formatting floppy disks and virtual terminals for each desktop environment. To help us get on-line CentOS comes with Network Manager and the KPPP dial-up networking utility. The menu also features system configuration tools for managing user accounts, printers, the firewall, authentication methods and system services. These tools are quite powerful and, I found, fairly straight forward to use. Digging further into the distribution we find Java is installed and a SMTP server is running in the background. Under it all the distribution is powered by the Linux kernel, version 2.6.32.
CentOS 6.3 - configuring the operating system
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As the CentOS install media and repositories do not include certain software packages, such as Flash and popular media codecs, many desktop users will probably want to enable additional repositories. When using the Fedora distribution, which is a close relative to CentOS, we would probably turn to RPMFusion for our software needs. However, when running CentOS, there is an extra step. First we need to enable the Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux repositories and then add the RPMFusion repositories. The steps for adding all the extra repositories are laid out on the RPMFusion website, making the process fairly straight forward. Once repositories are added multimedia players will offer to search and install codecs. To acquire Adobe's Flash plugin I first tried enabling the Adobe YUM repository and, when that failed to work, I found I could download and manually install the Flash RPM package, available on Adobe's website.
I ran CentOS on my laptop (dual-core 2 GHz CPU, 3 GB of RAM, Intel video card, Intel wireless card) and found the distro detected and used all of my hardware without any problems. Nearby wireless networks were picked up, sound was set to a low, yet audible, level and my screen was set to its maximum resolution. The enterprise distribution is fairly light on memory by modern standards, when logged in to either of the desktops available in the default installation the system only used about 160MB of RAM. At all times the system was quick to respond and performance was quite good. It was nice to have such a light-footed interface out of the box without having to disable unwanted services or enable 3D video drivers.
Given that CentOS is typically found on servers, not desktops, and the distribution comes with a conservative collection of software some people might be wondering why I chose to install the free enterprise distro. I had two driving motivations, the first being that people do tend to think of CentOS as strictly a server-oriented project and overlook it when choosing a desktop distribution. I feel this would be a mistake as CentOS is essentially a very long term support release of Fedora. If you like Fedora, but wish it had a longer support cycle, then CentOS is probably your ideal distribution.
The other reason I wanted to take this project for a spin is I, like some others in the open source community, am a little tired of seeing the big desktop environments change rapidly. It feels as though every time I turn around a desktop environment is introducing a change or forking or a feature is added that I, frankly, don't want. It's not that I'm opposed to change, as long as there is some benefit, and I like when change is evolutionary in nature, but it's starting to feel as though I have to relearn where everything is every time I upgrade my OS and that seems counter-productive. The CentOS distribution offers a calm shelter from the storm of updates and forks currently raging in the Linux community. CentOS comes with the simple, efficient GNOME 2 desktop (along with KDE 4.3) and security updates will be available for the next eight years.
For the most part using CentOS 6.3 was a pleasant experience. Installing codecs, Flash and various extras did require that I hunt down and install several additional repositories, which is a bit more work than is required from most other popular distributions. Further, some software isn't available for CentOS, even with the extra repositories (searches for items such as the VLC media player failed to find any matches). However, when we consider CentOS isn't aimed at the desktop crowd I feel the distro can be forgiven for the additional work required. Once the system was set up with the software and repositories I wanted it was smooth sailing from there. CentOS comes with good administrative tools, slightly aged, but still perfectly functional software and it will be supported for a good long time.
One aspect of the default install I really appreciated was the fact that both GNOME 2 and KDE 4 were available. Most distributions these days put just one desktop environment on a disc while CentOS provides two, along with a full office suite and plenty of other popular applications and they still manage to keep their live disc under 2GB. The distribution doesn't provide excitement or new, shiny features, it is pleasantly laid back and mature. The system is fairly light and stays out of the way. It's a good option for people who want to install their OS and forget about it for the next several years.
|Miscellaneous News (by Jesse Smith)
Debian releases beta installer for "Wheezy", Fedora adds MATE desktop to its repository
As Debian GNU/Linux edges closer to its next stable release, the project's installer team is making sure that the updated Debian system installer is as reliable and trustworthy as always. Last week Cyril Brulebois announced the availability of the Debian Installer 7.0 beta 1: "The Debian Installer team is pleased to announce the first beta release of the installer for Debian 7.0 'Wheezy'. Improvements in this release of the installer: debian-installer - switch the boot backgrounds to the Wheezy joy theme; debian-installer - adjust syslinux boot menu to not overlap with Debian logo; debian-installer - update to 3.2.0-3 linux ABI; apt - fix crashes on s390x; apt - improved behaviour with proxies (redirection handling improved and HTTP/1.1 pipelining disabled by default); brltty - add new braille USB IDs to d-i udev rules; busybox - enable ping applet for udeb build; grub2 - prevent EFI systems from running out of memory due to large disk cache; hw-detect - check-missing-firmware now supports looking into xz-compressed udebs; Linux kernel - updated to 3.2.21...." The announcement includes a long and detailed changelog, but if you aren't too interested in all the technical details, head directly for the installer page to download and test the latest build.
* * * * *
Some interesting news from a Fedora development meeting hit the news wires last week. MATE, a fork of the GNOME 2 desktop, has been added to the distribution's development repository. This may come as a surprise to many; Fedora, an active contributor to the GNOME desktop for years, is about to make it very easy for users who dislike the controversial GNOME 3 desktop to revert to the good-old GNOME 2-like user interface. The H Open reports: "A Fedora developer has proposed adding the packages for the MATE desktop environment - a fork of the older 2.x branch of GNOME - into the repositories for Fedora 18, which is due for release in early November. The proposal was approved at yesterday's meeting of Fedora's Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo). This is, however, conditional on the developers involved merging the desktop components into Fedora's package repositories on time, otherwise the MATE desktop will have to wait for a future Fedora version. Since Fedora's rules allow new packages to be added to the update repositories, MATE - which has come to the fore primarily through Linux Mint - could find its way into all currently maintained Fedora versions." Other points of discussion at FESCo included Samba 4, Python 3, ownCloud, and other additions.
|Tips and Tricks (by Robert Storey)
Libtrash - data disaster prevention
One man's trash is another man's treasure (McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Idioms)
* * * * *
It was a dark and stormy night. I was editing a file in Emacs, the all-purpose text editor that I've been using since my early geek days. I was putting the finishing touches on a book, getting it ready to email to my publisher. The final step was to delete the backup files that Emacs automatically creates. As it happens, Emacs appends a tilde to the end of a file to make a backup - thus, the backup of MyFile.txt becomes MyFile.txt~.
I opened a terminal, used the "cd" command to move into the appropriate directory where my book was stored. I intended to type the following:
Meanwhile, outside my window the storm raged. Suddenly, the room was illuminated by the bright flash of lightening, followed by the loud crack of thunder. Momentarily distracted, my mind briefly disconnected from my slippery fingers... I typed:
rm * ~
And hit Enter.
The horror! The extra space between the asterisk and tilde had the effect of wiping out every file in that directory. My entire book - the one I had just spent six months writing - was instantly vaporized.
A shot rang out! Well actually, it was just the sound of me banging my head against the wall. In despair, I considered jumping from my bedroom window to end it all. However, I live in a one-storey building.
Then the storm intensified. A gust of wind entered through a partially opened window, blowing an old copy of Linux Journal magazine off my desk and onto the floor. It fell open to a critical page - an article about file deleting disasters.
Desperate Measures: Undelete Utilities
Sorry for all the drama, but the above really happened - sort of - and this episode is what led me to Libtrash eventually. However, Libtrash is for prevention - installing it after you've deleted critical files is like closing the barn door after the horses have bolted. Therefore, please allow me a brief digression into just what one should do after the shock/horror of discovering that crucial files have been wiped, because this question is frequently asked on various Linux forums.
It is at least theoretically possible to recover "deleted" files because the data within is not actually deleted from the hard drive, even though the file name has disappeared from the directory listing. In simpler times when MS-DOS ruled the desktop world, undeleting a file was actually very straightforward. MS-DOS itself actually didn't include an undelete command, but it was readily available from third parties such as the Norton Utilities (pre-Windows version). Armed with such tools, one could type del myfile.txt and rescue it immediately by typing undelete, which presents a menu of files available for undeletion. The success rate for recovery in those innocent times was very nearly 100%, provided that you hadn't saved any additional data before attempting rescue.
Alas, progress comes with a price. Undelete worked so well in MS-DOS because that OS used the simple-minded (some would say "brain-dead") FAT16 file system. A modern Linux file system such as ext4 is far more "sophisticated" than FAT16 ever was. Beyond merely saving files, other possible activities for your hard disk include writing a journal, temporary files, log files, as well as defragmenting and running cron jobs. All these things occur without user intervention. Thus, while you calmly sit and stare at your computer screen in disbelief that you just deleted crucial files, the file system is merrily overwriting and destroying whatever data is still left. The point is that you must act quickly before the window of opportunity closes - a few minutes of simply doing nothing will only make your already-dire situation still worse.
The premier tool for undeleting files on an ext4 or ext3 file system is extundelete. If you want to learn more about it, check out its page on SourceForge here. I suggest ignoring their advice about downloading and compiling it - rather, grab a copy of SystemRescueCd, which has extundelete already installed among its other rescue utilities. Properly and promptly used, an undelete utility can recover most of your data, but don't be surprised if some of it is missing, out of order or otherwise flawed. For the really desperate, there are professional data-recovery services, charging outrageous sums of cash to extract any remaining useful (or not) tidbits of data from your hard drive's digital graveyard. A lot more could be said about undelete, but I'll let others say it, because that's not the focus of this article. Onwards...
Put your trash in the cans
The modern concept of a "trash-can" made its debut on the Apple Lisa in 1982, where it was called Wastebasket. It was renamed Trash when the Macintosh was released two years later. Due to the rapidly growing patent and trademark lawsuit market, Microsoft tactfully named its first trash-can Delete Sentry but this morphed into Recycle Bin by the time Windows 95 arrived on the scene. The now-defunct Norton Desktop for Windows avoided potential legal entanglements with Apple by calling their trash-can Smart Eraser.
On Linux the trash-can is just "Trash" and on most distros resides in the hidden directory ~/.local/share/Trash/files/ for each user. Files that you attempt to delete will get moved to this directory, provided that you "delete" them with a GUI file browser such as Dolphin, Gnome-commander, Krusader, Nautilus, Pcmanfm, Thunar or Xfe. That last point is crucial. If you delete files with the non-GUI file browser Midnight Commander (mc), they will be genuinely borked, not merely moved to trash. Ditto for any files you delete with command-line tools such as rm.
Furthermore, there are other programs which can delete files from within: text editors (Emacs), FTP tools (gFTP), BitTorrent applications (KTorrent), image viewers (Geeqie), etc. It doesn't matter if these applications are GUI-based - they are not enabled to put files in the trash-can, so "delete" really means just what it says. In short, a GUI-based file browser is, at best, a half-baked solution. If you want a completely-baked solution, you need something that can override the various iterations of "delete."
Put your cans in the trash
Enter Libtrash. The name is self-explanatory - it's a library that provides a trash-can function. It will work no matter what method you use to delete files. Libtrash is the brainchild of Manuel Arriaga, and has been available to Linux users since 2002. The surprising part of this history is how little interest developers have shown in enabling such a useful tool. I do not know of a single distro which comes with Libtrash installed by default, a scandalous situation in my opinion.
Of course, Linux users are a resourceful lot - where there's a need, there's a market. Thus, a small but determined number of geeks continue to seek out and install Libtrash. However, helpful information on how to accomplish this is rather scarce. After poking around in various online forums, I've found just a handful of posts, many of them by perplexed users who tried to get Libtrash working but failed, and asked for help but found little in the way of answers.
As a Lubuntu user, I was at first encouraged to find that there is a Libtrash package in the Ubuntu repositories. The bad news is that after installing it, I could not get it to work. A search on the Ubuntu forum at least showed that I was in good company, as there were other geeks there scratching their heads and proposing various workarounds. Fortunately, I did find this thread in which the poster named Gasull wrote: I found the solution. The libtrash version included in Ubuntu is quite old. It has been the 2.4.2 since Intrepid. There is an unofficial repository with libtrash 3.2 at https://launchpad.net/~softec/+archive/ppa.
While I give the thumbs-up to Gasull for finding the problem, his solution leaves me just a little unsatisfied because it's very Ubuntu-specific. Furthermore, it also depends on someone maintaining this PPA archive, and I wouldn't count on that, given how amazingly little interest there is in Libtrash.
Install From Source
This is the most bombproof installation method, and should work for every distro. The main requirement is that you're comfortable working on the command line. Visit the Libtrash home page and click the download link to get the latest version. The file to download is called libtrash-latest.tgz and can be unpacked with the command "tar -zxvf libtrash-latest.tgz", creating a directory named libtrash-3.2. If you explore that directory, you'll find a README file which has numerous helpful tips for installation and use, but is missing a couple of important details which I'll try to fill in.
First, cd into the libtrash-3.2 directory. Here you can (optionally) edit file libtrash.conf if you want to customize how Libtrash behaves. The file is fully commented and has clear explanations. Or just accept the default configuration, as I did. Note that libtrash.conf will be installed as a read-only file, /etc/libtrash.conf, but can be redited if you reset permissions with the chmod command). Finally, according to README you install Libtrash by running the following commands:
At this point I ran into a problem, as "make" generated a whole lot of threatening-looking error messages. I decided to run "make" as root, and those error messages just went away. Perhaps the README is wrong, or maybe it has something to do with my distro, or else my bad karma. Your mileage may vary, but if you see those error messages, consider my suggestion to retry "make" as the root user.
- Run "make"
- As root, run "make install"
The README also discusses the need to edit each user's .profile file to make a few customizations to activate Libtrash. I actually found this was insufficient and needed to edit my .bashrc file too. In fact, I'd recommend that you just completely replace each user's .bashrc with the following content:
This does a number of things, but only the last four lines apply to Libtrash. Finally, I also suggest that you create a .bash_profile file with the above identical content - this will override any settings in .profile. Furthermore, it will be beneficial to do this not only for regular users, but do it for root as well. Indeed, a strong argument could be made that root needs Libtrash even more than other users, given root's potential for destruction.
alias rm='rm -i'
alias cp='cp -i'
alias mv='mv -i'
set -o noclobber
alias su="su -l"
alias trashon="export TRASH_OFF=NO"
alias trashoff="export TRASH_OFF=YES"
Just by way of crude explanation, .bashrc customizes how the Bash shell behaves in a terminal window, while .bash_profile customizes its behavior for whatever is going on besides the terminal window. No doubt someone will rake me over the coals for this simplistic explanation, but suffice it to say that if you just create a .bashrc and .bash_profile with the above-mentioned content, all should be well.
Finally, copy /etc/libtrash.conf to ~/.libtrash - that is to say, a hidden file in your user's home directory.
Now just log out and log back in again, and Libtrash should perform its magic. Put it to the test by creating a few files and deleting them, using either the command line or various other programs like Geeqie and Gftp that possess the capability to delete files. After doing this, examine the contents of the newly created ~/Trash directory, and you should find that the deleted files now safely reside there.
Care and Feeding of Libtrash
It won't too long before your ~/Trash directory begins to accumulate too much trash, and at some point you may want to empty it. To accomplish this, you have a couple of options available. If you've installed my above-mentioned customized .bashrc file, then you have a "trashon" and "trashoff" command at your disposal. With this you can turn off Libtrash temporarily and delete the contents of ~/Trash, but try not to forget to turn Libtrash on again immediately after the clean-up operation.
The other and more elegant solution is to use the provided Perl script cleanTrash. This will not necessarily empty the Trash totally. Rather, it deletes the oldest files first when the trash can grows beyond 15 megabytes (this is configurable). You can change the size if you edit cleanTrash (easily done since it's a Perl script). If you want to change the default size, search inside the cleanTrash script for the line:
# maximum-Trash-size in kilo-bytes
The README suggests that cleanTrash is meant to be run by root and can even be set up as a cron job. However, there is no reason why you can't run it as an individual user, in which case it will only clean the trash for that particular user. However, for anyone to run it at all, two things must be done: the script needs to be made "executable" and needs to be placed in the "path" (this is true for any script or program). To make it executable, cd into the libtrash-3.2 directory and type:
$cfgMaxTrashSize = 15000;
chmod 755 cleanTrash
You then need to copy cleanTrash to someplace in the path. On most distros I'd suggest /usr/local/bin. To find out what paths are available, type "echo $PATH" on the command line. On Ubuntu, that gives me this result:
Finally, there may be occasions where there is some file(s) that you want to absolutely delete without a trace (those naughty pictures from last night's party, perhaps?). In that case, try this command:
shred -u FILENAME.TXT
The shred command will overwrite the file and then delete it without depositing it in the trash can. Once you shred a file, consider it gone for good.
If you're not a command-line guru, you might have found the foregoing discussion to be a bit mind-boggling. I sympathize, and genuinely wish that developers would get a clue and make setting up Libtrash a painless exercise - a few GUI dialog boxes is all it would take. Sadly, there does not seem to be much interest in even including a functioning Libtrash package in the repositories of the various distros, thus forcing users to get to earn their geek credentials the old-fashioned way (ie downloading source, compiling and fiddling with text configuration files). In fact, it is not so difficult, but I can see why Linux newbies used to point-and-click simplicity would be blown away by the user-unfriendly command line. The best spin I can put on it is that installing and configuring Libtrash is a great education.
Warts and all, I love Libtrash and I'm very grateful to Mr Arriaga for creating it. Not having it is akin to being a skydiver who leaves the emergency parachute at home...and that can have consequences.
|Released Last Week
Stella 6.3 is a CentOS remix designed specifically for the desktop - with GNOME 2, working multimedia codecs and many popular desktop applications. The project released version 6.3 yesterday: "Following the release of CentOS 6.3 I finally managed to get Stella 6.3 out as well. This is more an issue of incrementing the numbers since people running Stella have already received the updates from CentOS 6.3. So, what's new in your favourite EL-based remix? Updated multimedia stack - new FFmpeg (0.10.4), MPlayer (1.0svn) and VLC (2.0.3); updated in nux-dextop repository - Clipgrab, Minitube, Audacity 2.0; new inclusions in nux-dextop repository -Megamario (SuperMario clone), Geeqie, Mumble suite, Phantomjs, Tarsnap and SCrypt. Also, as a bit of a news, pkgs.org is now indexing my repositories; as such, searching for EL6 RPMs might give you results from li.nux.ro." Here is the brief release announcement.
Stella 6.3 - a CentOS 6.3 remix for the desktop
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IPFire 2.11 Core 61
Michael Tremer has announced the release of IPFire 2.11 Core 61, a specialist Linux distribution for firewalls: "The IPFire development team has just released the 61st core update for IPFire 2.11. This update brings a lot of exciting changes, new features and several bug fixes. Since IPFire 2.11, OpenVPN net2net (N2N) or site2site (S2S) connections are supported. Here are some of the exciting new features: static routes may be defined for OpenVPN clients; connections can now be renamed when importing them; OpenVPN N2N connections are displayed with their status on the index page; optional client-config-dir (CCD) is supported which enables the option to add configuration parameters for a single client connection. On the connections page, you can now see how much traffic has been transfered over a single connection." The release announcement.
ClearOS 6.3.0 "Community"
Peter Baldwin has announced the release of ClearOS 6.3.0, a CentOS-based distribution for servers: "ClearOS Community 6.3.0 has arrived! Along with the usual round of enhancements, this release introduces new applications focused on the mail server stack. Anchored on the Zarafa for ClearOS solution, you can now implement an on-premise or private cloud mail server using ClearOS. This release includes the following new applications: Zarafa Community for ClearOS, Mail Antivirus, Mail Antispam, Antispam Updates, Greylisting, and more. For businesses and organizations, ClearOS Professional 6.3.0 also includes Zarafa Professional for ClearOS, Mail Antimalware Premium powered by Kaspersky and Gateway Antimalware Premium powered by Kaspersky." See the release announcement and release notes for further information.
Toorox 08.2012 "Xfce", "Lite"
Jörn Lindau has announced the release of Toorox 08.2012 "Xfce" and "Lite" editions, a Gentoo-based live DVD. Both editions feature the Xfce desktop environment, but "Lite" includes fewer applications and lighter productivity program (AbiWord instead of LibreOffice). From the release announcement: "Toorox 08.2012 'Xfce' and 'Lite' have been finished and are ready for download. This release is based on Linux kernel 3.3.8-gentoo and contains the latest Xfce desktop environment, version 4.10. Compiz has been built into the Xfce edition for a little bit eye candy. The default applications for web and mail are now Chromium and Claws-Mail. All packages have been updated: X.Org Server 1.12.3, Mesa 8.0.4, Chromium 21.0.1180.55, GIMP 2.8.0, Audacious 3.3, Wine 1.5.9, LibreOffice 18.104.22.168. Toorox 08.2012 'Xfce' and 'Lite' now support 11 languages."
Toorox 08.2012 - a Gentoo-based distribution with Xfce
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Bridge Linux 2012.8 "Xfce"
Dalton Miller has announced the release of Bridge Linux 2012.8 "Xfce" edition, an Arch-based distribution and live CD: "Bridge 2012.8. It was requested a lot, and now it's here: GRUB 2 is the default bootloader in Bridge Linux 2012.8. There are a few notes about this - first, the bootloader install should detect all operating systems on the system, but it will change the root kernel parameter of Arch installs with a vanilla kernel. There are quite a few changes: fixed the /etc/hosts file; fixed the Xfce X respawn error; fixed some mkinitcpio issues; fixed the installer; added French and Turkish language support in the installer; added menu item to run post-install script after first run; added instructions for proprietary GPU drivers...." Read the rest of the release announcement for a complete list of changes.
Arch Linux 2012.08.04
Pierre Schmitz has announced the availability of a new installation CD/USB image for Arch Linux, version 2012.08.04: "The August snapshot of our live and install media comes with updated packages and the following changes on top of the previous iso image: GRUB 2.00 instead of the legacy 0.9 version is available; the installation guide can be found at /root/install.txt; ZSH with Grml's configuration is used as interactive shell to provide a user friendly and more convenient environment, this includes completion support for pacstrap, arch-chroot, pacman and most other tools; the network daemon, which will automatically setup your network if DHCP is available, is started by default. Note that all these changes only affect the live system and not the base system you install using pacstrap." Here is the brief release announcement.
* * * * *
Development, unannounced and minor bug-fix releases
|Upcoming Releases and Announcements
Summary of expected upcoming releases
July 2012 DistroWatch.com donations: BleachBit|
We are happy to announce that the recipient of the July 2012 DistroWatch.com donation is the BleachBit project, a privacy-oriented file removal utility.
The project's main functionality rests in removal of redundant and unnecessary files which tend to accumulate on one's hard disk in the form of browser caches, temporary files, etc: "BleachBit quickly frees disk space and tirelessly guards your privacy. Free cache, delete cookies, clear Internet history, shred temporary files, delete logs, and discard junk you didn't know was there. Designed for Linux and Windows systems, it wipes clean junk from 90 applications including Firefox, Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari and more. Beyond simply deleting files, BleachBit includes advanced features such as shredding files to prevent recovery, wiping free disk space to hide traces of files deleted by other applications, and vacuuming Firefox to make it faster." Visit the project's features page for more information.
Launched in 2004, this monthly donations programme is a DistroWatch initiative to support free and open-source software projects and operating systems with cash contributions. Readers are welcome to nominate their favourite project for future donations. Those readers who wish to contribute towards these donations, please use our advertising page to make a payment (PayPal and credit cards are accepted). Here is the list of the projects that have received a DistroWatch donation since the launch of the programme (figures in US dollars):
Since the launch of the Donations Program in March 2004, DistroWatch has donated a total of US$32,590 to various open-source software projects.
- 2004: GnuCash ($250), Quanta Plus ($200), PCLinuxOS ($300), The GIMP ($300), Vidalinux ($200), Fluxbox ($200), K3b ($350), Arch Linux ($300), Kile KDE LaTeX Editor ($100) and UNICEF - Tsunami Relief Operation ($340)
- 2005: Vim ($250), AbiWord ($220), BitTorrent ($300), NDISwrapper ($250), Audacity ($250), Debian GNU/Linux ($420), GNOME ($425), Enlightenment ($250), MPlayer ($400), Amarok ($300), KANOTIX ($250) and Cacti ($375)
- 2006: Gambas ($250), Krusader ($250), FreeBSD Foundation ($450), GParted ($360), Doxygen ($260), LilyPond ($250), Lua ($250), Gentoo Linux ($500), Blender ($500), Puppy Linux ($350), Inkscape ($350), Cape Linux Users Group ($130), Mandriva Linux ($405, a Powerpack competition), Digikam ($408) and Sabayon Linux ($450)
- 2007: GQview ($250), Kaffeine ($250), sidux ($350), CentOS ($400), LyX ($350), VectorLinux ($350), KTorrent ($400), FreeNAS ($350), lighttpd ($400), Damn Small Linux ($350), NimbleX ($450), MEPIS Linux ($300), Zenwalk Linux ($300)
- 2008: VLC ($350), Frugalware Linux ($340), cURL ($300), GSPCA ($400), FileZilla ($400), MythDora ($500), Linux Mint ($400), Parsix GNU/Linux ($300), Miro ($300), GoblinX ($250), Dillo ($150), LXDE ($250)
- 2009: Openbox ($250), Wolvix GNU/Linux ($200), smxi ($200), Python ($300), SliTaz GNU/Linux ($200), LiVES ($300), Osmo ($300), LMMS ($250), KompoZer ($360), OpenSSH ($350), Parted Magic ($350) and Krita ($285)
- 2010: Qimo 4 Kids ($250), Squid ($250), Libre Graphics Meeting ($300), Bacula ($250), FileZilla ($300), GCompris ($352), Xiph.org ($250), Clonezilla ($250), Debian Multimedia ($280), Geany ($300), Mageia ($470), gtkpod ($300)
- 2011: CGSecurity ($300), OpenShot ($300), Imagination ($250), Calibre ($300), RIPLinuX ($300), Midori ($310), vsftpd ($300), OpenShot ($350), Trinity Desktop Environment ($300), LibreCAD ($300), LiVES ($300), Transmission ($250)
- 2012: GnuPG ($350), ImageMagick ($350), GNU ddrescue ($350), Slackware Linux ($500), MATE ($250), LibreCAD ($250), BleachBit ($350)
* * * * *
New distributions added to database
* * * * *
New distributions added to waiting list
- Bedrock Linux. Bedrock Linux is a Linux distribution created with the aim of making most of the (often seemingly mutually-exclusive) benefits of various other Linux distributions available simultaneously and transparently. If one would like a rock-solid stable base (for example, from Debian or a RHEL clone), yet still have easy access to cutting-edge packages (from, say, Arch Linux), automate compiling packages with Gentoo's Portage, and ensure that software aimed only for the ever popular Ubuntu will run smoothly - all at the same time, in the same distribution - Bedrock Linux will provide a means to achieve this.
- PoliArch. PoliArch is an Italian distribution and live CD featuring a number of system rescue and data recovery tools. It is based on Arch Linux. The project's website is in Italian.
- Zest Linux. Zest Linux is a fast bootable live CD based on Debian's stable branch. The main aim of Zest Linux is to support most (if not all) wireless drivers available so that one can use it on any laptop and connect to the Internet without any further driver installation and configuration.
* * * * *
DistroWatch database summary
* * * * *
This concludes this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly. The next instalment will be published on Monday, 13 August 2012. To contact the authors please send email to:
- Jesse Smith (feedback, questions and suggestions: distribution reviews, questions and answers, tips and tricks)
- Robert Storey (feedback on this week's article on Libtrash)
- Ladislav Bodnar (feedback, questions, suggestions and corrections: news, donations, distribution submissions, comments)
- Bruce Patterson (feedback and suggestions: podcast edition)
If you've enjoyed this week's issue of DistroWatch Weekly, please consider sending us a tip.
(Tips this week: 0, value: US$0.00)
|Linux Foundation Training
|• Issue 734 (2017-10-16): Star 1.0.1, running the Linux-libre kernel, Ubuntu MATE experiments with snaps, Debian releases new install media, Purism reaches funding goal|
|• Issue 733 (2017-10-09): KaOS 2017.09, 32-bit prematurely obsoleted, Qubes security features, IPFire updates Apache|
|• Issue 732 (2017-10-02): ClonOS, reducing Snap package size, Ubuntu dropping 32-bit Desktop, partitioning disks for ZFS|
|• Issue 731 (2017-09-25): BackSlash Linux Olaf, W3C adding DRM to web standards, Wayland support arrives in Mir, Debian experimenting with AppArmor|
|• Issue 730 (2017-09-18): Mageia 6, running a completely free OS, HAMMER2 file system in DragonFly BSD's installer, Manjaro to ship pre-installed on laptops|
|• Issue 729 (2017-09-11): Parabola GNU/Linux-libre, running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi, Tails feature roadmap, a cross-platform ports build system|
|• Issue 728 (2017-09-04): Nitrux 1.0.2, SUSE creates new community repository, remote desktop tools for GNOME on Wayland, using Void source packages|
|• Issue 727 (2017-08-28): Cucumber Linux 1.0, using Flatpak vs Snap, GNOME previews Settings panel, SUSE reaffirms commitment to Btrfs|
|• Issue 726 (2017-08-21): Redcore Linux 1706, Solus adds Snap support, KaOS getting hardened kernel, rolling releases and BSD|
|• Issue 725 (2017-08-14): openSUSE 42.3, Debian considers Flatpak for backports, changes coming to Ubuntu 17.10, the state of gaming on Linux|
|• Issue 724 (2017-08-07): SwagArch 2017.06, Myths about Unity, Mir and Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro OpenRC becomes its own distro, Debian debates future of live ISOs|
|• Issue 723 (2017-07-31): UBOS 11, transferring packages between systems, Ubuntu MATE's HUD, GNUstep releases first update in seven years|
|• Issue 722 (2017-07-24): Calculate Linux 17.6, logging sudo usage, Remix OS discontinued, interview with Chris Lamb, Debian 9.1 released|
|• Issue 721 (2017-07-17): Fedora 26, finding source based distributions, installing DragonFly BSD using Orca, Yunit packages ported to Ubuntu 16.04|
|• Issue 720 (2017-07-10): Peppermint OS 8, gathering system information with osquery, new features coming to openSUSE, Tails fixes networking bug|
|• Issue 719 (2017-07-03): Manjaro 17.0.2, tracking ISO files, Ubuntu MATE unveils new features, Qubes tests Admin API, Fedora's Atomic Host gets new life cycle|
|• Issue 718 (2017-06-26): Debian 9, support for older hardware, Debian updates live media, Ubuntu's new networking tool, openSUSE gains MP3 support|
|• Issue 717 (2017-06-19): SharkLinux, combining commands in the shell, Debian 9 flavours released, OpenBSD improving kernel security, UBports releases first OTA update|
|• Issue 716 (2017-06-12): Slackel 7.0, Ubuntu working with GNOME on HiDPI, openSUSE 42.3 using rolling development model, exploring kernel blobs|
|• Issue 715 (2017-06-05): Devuan 1.0.0, answering questions on systemd, Linux Mint plans 18.2 beta, Yunit/Unity 8 ported to Debian|
|• Issue 714 (2017-05-29): Void, enabling Wake-on-LAN, Solus packages KDE, Debian 9 release date, Ubuntu automated bug reports|
|• Issue 713 (2017-05-22): ROSA Fresh R9, Fedora's new networking features, FreeBSD's Quarterly Report, UBports opens app store, Parsix to shut down, SELinux overview|
|• Issue 712 (2017-05-15): NixOS 17.03, Alpha Litebook running elementary OS, Canonical considers going public, Solus improves Bluetooth support|
|• Issue 711 (2017-05-08): 4MLinux 21.0, checking file system fragmentation, new Mint and Haiku features, pfSense roadmap, OpenBSD offers first syspatch updates|
|• Issue 710 (2017-05-01): TrueOS 2017-02-22, Debian ported to RISC-V, Halium to unify mobile GNU/Linux, Anbox runs Android apps on GNU/Linux, using ZFS on the root file system|
|• Issue 709 (2017-04-24): Ubuntu 17.04, Korora testing new software manager, Ubuntu migrates to Wayland, running Nix package manager on alternative distributions|
|• Issue 708 (2017-04-17): Maui Linux 17.03, Snaps run on Fedora, Void adopts Flatpak, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Debian elects Project Leader|
|• Issue 707 (2017-04-10): PCLinuxOS 2017.03, Canonical stops Unity development, OpenBSD on a Raspberry Pi, setting up a VPN for privacy|
|• Issue 706 (2017-04-03): Super Grub2 Disk, Snap packages of deepin applications, Subgraph OS routes network traffic for one application, announcements from Linux Mint|
|• Issue 705 (2017-03-27): Minimal Linux Live, sharing control of the operating system, new KaOS features, Uplos32 provides 32-bit fork of PCLinuxOS|
|• Issue 704 (2017-03-20): ToarusOS 1.0.4, Linux Mint's security record, Debian starts Project Leader election, Ubuntu 12.04 reaches end-of-life|
|• Issue 703 (2017-03-13): SolydXK 201701, CloudReady, Solus announces new features, KDE Connect sends text messages from desktop, openSUSE's YaST module for Let's Encrypt|
|• Issue 702 (2017-03-06): Fatdog64 Linux, elementary OS bundled with new netbook, Haiku announces new features, security and the size of a distro's development team|
|• Issue 701 (2017-02-27): OBRevenge 2017.02, Mageia 6 delays, NetBSD reproducible builds, questions about swap space, trying to steam video on a Raspberry Pi|
|• Issue 700 (2017-02-20): RaspBSD, Debian replaces Icedove with Thunderbird, Fedora's licensing guidlines, tips for switching shells, finding battery charge, getting IP address and killing processes|
|• Issue 699 (2017-02-13): Clear Linux, GhostBSD network utility ported to FreeBSD, Ubuntu coming to Fairphone, elementary OS crowd funding an app store|
|• Issue 698 (2017-02-06): Solus 2017.01.01, comparing containers with portable applicatins, Tails dropping 32-bit support, Debian Stretch enters freeze|
|• Issue 697 (2017-01-30): Subgraph OS 2016.12.30, running Ubuntu on an Android phone, Arch Linux phasing out 32-bit support, Linux Mint testing updated LMDE media|
|• Issue 696 (2017-01-23): GoboLinux 016, remotely running desktop applications, Solus adopting Flatpak, KDE neon using Calamares, TrueOS tests OpenRC|
|• Issue 695 (2017-01-16): Zorin OS 12, Peppermint team fixes installer bug, Debian refreshes Jessie media, Ubuntu improves low graphics mode, Exciting things coming in 2017|
|• Issue 694 (2017-01-09): MX Linux 16, Fedora considers systemd security features, DragonFly BSD to support massive swap space, Ubuntu Touch roadmap, Puppy's newsletter, sudo's password prompt|
|• Issue 693 (2017-01-02): Comparing small distros, fig language, video driver comparsion, Debian+PIXEL, Wayland on FreeBSD|
|• Issue 692 (2016-12-19): Bodhi Linux 4.0.0, Cappsule containers, Calculate's new Utilities package, Solus and Ubuntu MATE build new application menu|
|• Issue 691 (2016-12-12): SalentOS 1.0, openSUSE improves YaST, Fedora considers slower release cycle, KDE neon gets LTS branch|
|• Issue 690 (2016-12-05): Fedora 25, Ubuntu adopts rolling HWE kernel, running Android apps on GNU/Linux, Haiku working toward EFI support|
|• Issue 689 (2016-11-28): openSUSE 42.2, Fedora's upgrade path, plans for Korora 25, transitioning from PC-BSD to TrueOS, Webconverger's reproducible builds|
|• Issue 688 (2016-11-21): Endless OS 3.0.5, KDE neon fixes security hole, FreeBSD's Quarterly Status Report, Rolling release trial #2 concludes|
|• Issue 687 (2016-11-14): NAS4Free 10.3.0.3, Fedora gains MP3 playback, budgie-remix becomes Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu flavours compared, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 686 (2016-11-07): FreeBSD 11.0, rolling release trial #2, Debian announces supported architectures, Simplicity switching to antiX base, farewell to Mythbuntu|
|• Issue 685 (2016-10-31): elementary OS 0.4, SUSE gains ARM support, Mint improves language support, Dirty COW explained, Rolling release trial #2|
|• Issue 684 (2016-10-24): Ubuntu 16.10, Linux popularity in different markets, Fedora runs on Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu features live kernel patching|
|• Issue 683 (2016-10-17): Refracta 8.0, making packages for distributions, Alpine switches to LibreSSL, 386BSD website publishes classic code|
|• Full list of all issues|
|Random Distribution |
BackSlash Linux is an Ubuntu-based desktop distribution featuring a custom shell running on top of the KDE Plasma desktop. BackSlash features a user interface inspired by macOS.
|Tips, Tricks, Myths and Q&As |
|Tips and tricks: Basename, for loop, dirname, aliases, bash history, xsel clipboard|
|Tips and tricks: Void source packages|
|Tips and tricks: Running Plex Media Server on a Raspberry Pi|
|Questions and answers: Setting up home server, experiment with rolling releases|
|Tips and tricks: Using GRUB with XFS|
|Tips and tricks: (Xfce) interface woes|
|Tips and tricks: Ubuntu's Snappy package manager|
|Questions and answers: Release cycles|
|Myths and misunderstandings: Can Netflix run on a Raspberry Pi?|
|Tips and tricks: Shell switching, battery charge, getting the system's IP address and dealing with stubborn processes|
|More Tips & Tricks and Questions & Answers|